Kuwait April. Toyota dominates in a market suddenly up 20.6%


Kuwaiti Vehicles Market surged 20.6% in April with 8.642 sales, leading year-to-date figures on a positive track. Toyota boomed 57.9%, widening the gap from Nissan, while Chevrolet – improving in double digits – gained the market podium.


Economic Environment

Kuwait’s economy reported a dual picture in the first quarter of the year. While the energy sector was likely held back by OPEC-agreed oil cuts, as reflected by falling oil production, the non-oil sector likely performed fairly well. Private-sector credit growth was brisk in January and February, which should have buoyed household spending despite a drop-off in consumer confidence in recent months.

Moreover, recent data regarding government finances is encouraging; in the first 11 months of FY 2018 (April 2018-February 2019), the country recorded a small fiscal surplus. This comes after the economy lost steam in the fourth quarter of last year on the back of slowdowns in both the oil and non-oil sectors.


Market Trend

Kuwait vehicles market hit the all-time record in the 2014 with 162.719 sales ending a long positive path. Then, the sudden economic crisis generated by the fall of oil price hit the sector with sales declined for three consecutive years. In the 2017, light vehicles sales have been 106.913, down 7.8% from the previous year.

In the 2018, according to data reported by the Kuwaiti Authority for Transportation, the market has finally changed mood breaking the falling trend and scoring a positive second half with allowed to the end year with 107.534 sales, up 0.9%.

However, in the 2019 the market started with a flat trend. In January sales were up just 1.8% with 9.501 units sold, while keeping a negative score in the following months, with 9.159 sales (-2.8%) in February and with 10.626 (-4.1%) in March. In April the market suddenly surged to 20.6% with 8.642 units sold, pulling year-to-date figures at 37.928 (+2.5%).

Brand-wise, the market leader in April was Toyota with 11.629 units sold (-4.1%), holding the crown with 30.7% of market share.

In second place Nissan with 4.254 (+11%) followed by Chevrolet with 2.438 (-15.6%), Kia with 2.381 (-6.7%) and Mitsubishi with 2.231 (-26.2%).

Looking ahead, the introduction of VAT in the country, have been postponed and this would allow the market to run in positive territory across the 2019, with our forecast for a market up between 7 and 10 percent.

Indeed, back in June 2016, all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states signed the Common VAT Agreement. It was agreed that each GCC Member State would introduce a VAT system at a rate of 5%. In March 2018 the Kuwait National Assembly pushed back a vote on the implementation of a VAT system. While no definitive date has yet been set for the introduction of a new VAT system, Reuters reports from Kuwait have suggested the possibility of the VAT system introduction being postponed until 2021.


Market Outlook

After an uncertain period, characterized by sales fluctuations, the Kuwaiti Market is seen to be growing during the 2019-2025 period of time. However, volatile oil prices, easing global economic momentum and geopolitical tensions pose downside risks to the outlook.

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